Archive for April, 2013

April 20, 2013

Signed Copies at the Riverside

by Andre

Get a signed Julian Barnes memoir – while stocks last

At the Riverside, we do our best to get signed copies of the best new books – see below for our current selection, including Levels of Life by Julian Barnes. As Barnes said in his Booker acceptance speech for The Sense of an Ending, the physical book “has to look like something worth buying and worth keeping” in this digital age – and an author’s signature only accentuates the pleasing form of a beautiful new hardback.

Julian Barnes LEVELS OF LIFENeil MacGregor SHAKESPEARE'S RESTLESS WORLD

Taiye Selasi GHANA MUST GOEoin Colfer W.A.R.P The Reluctant Assassin
Henry Hitchings SORRY - THE ENGLISH AND THEIR MANNERSDerek Landy THE MALEFICENT SEVEN

Travis Elborough LONDON BRIDGE IN AMERICAGraeme Simsion THE ROSIE PROJECT

April 18, 2013

Granta: Best of Young British Novelists

by Andre

The once-a-decade edition of Granta that names the 20 best British writers under 40 has been all over the media, as you’d expect from a list which launched in 1983 and has previously featured Martin Amis, Julian Barnes, Ian McEwan, Jeanette Winterson, Alan Hollinghurst, Sarah Waters and Zadie Smith (who gets a second nod in 2013, along with Adam Thirlwell.) Congratulations to this year’s anointed authors (particularly fellow south London bookseller Evie Wyld) in the fourth edition of this literary landmark. We’ve got the new Granta (issue 123) in stock as well as a selection of novels by the 2013 intake – click on the book covers below to view the gallery.

April 18, 2013

Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013

by Andre

Hilary Mantel BRING UP THE BODIESKate Atkinson LIFE AFTER LIFE

A M Homes MAY WE BE FORGIVENBarbara Kingsolver FLIGHT BEHAVIOUR

Zadie Smith NWMaria Semple WHERE'D YOU GO, BERNADETTE

The shortlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction has been announced and we’ve got all this year’s contenders available at the Riverside – including new paperback editions of the novels by A. M. Homes and Barbara Kingsolver. It’s a strong shortlist – both Zadie Smith and Barbara Kingsolver are previous winners – so Hilary Mantel has a fight on her hands if she’s going to do the treble and add this prize to her Man Booker and Costa for Bring Up the Bodies.

If you’re wondering why you’ve never heard of this particular prize in what’s become an increasingly crowded market for literary contests, that’s because you probably got used to calling it the Orange Prize for Fiction (the sponsor pulled out last year). We’ve also got previous winners in stock including last year’s The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller and The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht from 2011.

April 14, 2013

Wisden: 150 not out

by Andre

WISDEN 150th edition Robert Winder THE LITTLE WONDER
It’s set to be a thrilling summer of cricket with Test matches against New Zealand, the ICC Champions Trophy and the Ashes Test series against Australia. There’s also a publishing landmark with the 150th edition of Wisden, the cricketers’ almanack, available now priced £50. The annual reference book was first published in 1864 by John Wisden, the 5ft 4ins Sussex fast bowler known as the ‘Little Wonder’, at the price of a shilling for 112 pages (the latest edition weighs in at 1,584 pages).

In 1889, it began compiling what would become its famous cricketers of the year list, so by 2000 it was well placed to come up with five cricketers of the century, headed by Don Bradman. Even though it’s a venerable volume, Wisden’s never been too fusty: it made Claire Taylor one of its cricketers of the year in 2009, while the latest issue considers Kevin Pietersen and Twitter and features Steve Davies on being the first openly gay international cricketer. It even broke with tradition in 2003 and put a photograph on the front – Michael Vaughan was the cover star – but the Eric Ravilious woodcut of Victorian gentlemen was soon back where it belonged, having graced the cover since the 75th edition in 1938 (that was also the year it became bright yellow).

Wisden readers will also be fascinated by The Little Wonder: The Remarkable History  of Wisden by Robert Winder, as well as a host of new cricketing volumes including The Promise of Endless Summer, a book of cricket lives from the Daily Telegraph; 80 Not Out: My Favourite Cricket Memories by Dickie Bird; and We’ll Get ‘Em in Sequins by Max Davidson, a unique look at the changing nature of masculinity, told through the lens of a series of Yorkshire County Cricket Club player portraits through the ages.

April 14, 2013

The Prisoner of Heaven: Carlos Ruiz Zafon

by Andre

Now in paperback – £7.99

There aren’t enough novels with booksellers as heroes, so it’s heartening to meet the staff of Sempere & Sons in 1950s Barcelona. The Prisoner of Heaven (£12.99, paperback) is the third novel in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series, following bestsellers The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game. You can read them in any order though this latest instalment abounds with teasing hints of previous adventures; Zafon’s shadowy novels specialise in stories within stories, books within books.

Part one begins almost cosily with ‘A Christmas Story’ as the bookshop prepares for the festive trade in 1957. It’s a little whimsical, with the promise of a mystery, but then the narrative shifts abruptly into a shocking prison drama depicting the apparatus and bloodthirsty lieutenants of the burgeoning fascist state in 1939. It’s a shorter novel than the previous books and, at its conclusion, the reader might reasonably anticipate further episodes featuring these characters. What sets Zafon apart from other international bestselling authors is the simple, inventive style: even as the suspenseful narrative is powering ahead, he indulges in a winning self-awareness about the art of storytelling, with nods to literary forebears such as The Count of Monte Cristo. Just like the average bookseller – heroic or otherwise – there’s more to this novel than meets the eye.

April 6, 2013

The Teleportation Accident: Ned Beauman

by Andre

Now in paperback – £8.99

Ned Beauman published a precociously confident debut novel, Boxer, Beetle, in 2010. He’s followed that with an audacious comic romp that made the Man Booker Prize longlist. The globe-trotting story begins in Berlin in 1931 where sex-starved set designer Egon Loeser is working on a production about his 17th century stagecraft hero, the mysterious Adriano Lavicini, and his Extraordinary Mechanism for the Almost Instantaneous Transportation of Persons from Place to Place. As a result of Loeser’s self-obsession and his desire for a former pupil called Adele Hitler, he fails to take much notice of the rise of her namesake. Loeser’s wilful political ignorance sets up some bad taste but very funny jokes that tease the reader’s familiarity with 1930s Nazi notoriety.

Beauman flirts outrageously with genre fiction: H.P. Lovecraft is an influence and his story The Shadow Over Innsmouth plays a part in the plot’s science fiction elements. Then there’s Loeser’s pursuit of a serial killer and his inability to read anything other than the brutish crime stories of (fictional) author Stent Mutton – perhaps the Lee Child of his day. The Teleportation Accident is a highly readable, amiably bizarre novel that’s unafraid to play with structure and has a serious point to make about history being a nightmare from which you really need to wake up.